Two third of migrants settle in metropolitan areas, particularly in capital cities. More than 60% of refugees worldwide live in urban areas. Migration has always been a local reality: a key driver and challenge for cities. It is an even bigger urban challenge since the EU experienced a great influx of refugees and migrants in 2015 and 2016. As such, a well-thought through migration policy is an essential component of effective urban development. However, migration policy will only succeed if it is underpinned by effective inclusion policies, which through the provision of services and opportunities, ensures the long-term integration of migrants into the urban fabric. Cities are undoubtedly at the forefront of this challenge, as often first port to migration hence face the complex and long-term process of fostering integration and mutual trust. If this integration into the urban fabric is poorly managed, it can result in multiple problems and ineffective solutions that completely fail to address basic needs, leading to the exclusion of migrants from the labour market, housing, health and education services etc. This is a particular risk when cities are asked to deal with sizeable and sudden population movements that put sudden pressure on the services of the cities.
At that particular time, UIA two first calls (2015 and 2016) called urban authorities on to tackle the long-term integration of migrants and refugees, which is a multifaceted process requiring integrated approaches. Following the ERDF scope of support, the Commission suggested actions that may cover a range of investments in social, health, education, housing and childcare infrastructure (e.g community-based social care, social housing, access to basic services and health facilities), regeneration of deprived urban areas, actions to reduce spatial and educational isolation of migrants and refugees, business start-ups and others. In order to reinforce the comprehensive nature of the activities, measures addressing human capital investment, such as vocational training, coaching, capacity building and skills development, could also be included. In addition, the second call further expanded on the vulnerable groups the projects should target and stressed on unaccompanied minors, young people and women particular issues.